I had seen it earlier in the week during the day and Donna had enthused as to its wonder, we had walked passed it and looked down on it from in front of the museum at the top of the main avenue through the old world Trade Exhibition site, it was a big circular pond with numerous tubes protruding from the water and I knew that it was the magic fountain but I was woefully unprepared for its spectacle.
Every week during the summer from Thursday through to Sunday night it is set in motion from just after sunset until eleven thirty or so. Music plays and the huge fountain comes to life, synchronising its jets and illuminations to the sound and tempo of the tunes. It performs an astounding array of tricks with its numerous jets, reaching high into the sky and spilling out into the catchment ponds around, the colours change and merge as the water arcs and sprays in an everchanging display.
We arrived from below, following the grand avenue from Playa d’Espagne with its hideous monstrosity of a statue, if you can call it that, at the centre, towards the museum on the hill. Past the Venician towers and two striking rows of fountains, leading the eye towards the summit. These fountains played to about ten feet, illuminated white and giving the impression of two rows of conifers covered in snow. On their own and in a more intimate setting they would have created quite a stir, but here, due to the grandness of the setting they appeared rather small.
In the distance a big jelly mould affair was partially blocking the view of the museum. It writhed and wriggled within its invisible constraints and changed in colour like one of those modern mood lights. It was too far away to look like a fountain and the sound from the white trees drowned out the music that it was accompanying. It just looked a bit strange.
Closer up, and with recollections from the day before I began to realise the enormity of it all. What had initially appeared to be mouldings around the base of the fountain were in fact humans, their heads and shoulders silhouetted against the water, indistinguishable in the darkness from the structure itself. I remembered the fountain structure rising by several layers but the sheer volumes of water in motion hid all of that from view, it appeared to be much larger under the cover of darkness. As we climbed the stairs through the throngs of sightseers the whole spectacle started to come together. As the music played the fountain performed its dance.
I stand and watch for a while, captivated by its immensity and beauty, indifferent to the people around me and the fact that I am there with Donna. After a while she speaks and the spell is broken. She loves the fountain and often passes by on her way to or from town to enjoy the atmosphere for a while. We move on, passing through the crowds and find an outside table at one of the tiny bars hidden amongst the trees. The vision of the fountain fills our view, we order a couple of beers and sit and soak in the atmosphere. It is mesmerising and almost as spectacular as a firework display. After a while the music fades, as does the water, the twenty minute performance is over and a calm descends on the square. We chat about our action packed day and wonder about the workings of the fountain for a while.
Before we know it, the music begins again and the water springs to life. Higher and brighter and so very different to the last performance, the music this time is a jazzy number and the magic fountain knows exactly what to do. We order more beers and watch, captivated once again, enjoying the warm evening air and the beauty of the moment, I love the Magic Fountain and I love Barcelona.